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Monday, April 9, 2012

Mourning With Tess

I’ve experienced something almost profound over the last two weeks. My husband and I had to make the decision to put our dog of 14 years, Indiana, to sleep. He was hurting and had horrible dementia, didn’t know who we were, was blind and almost deaf, hard a hard time moving and was seriously going insane. As a pet owner I know that we did right by our dog, but as Indiana’s “mom” well, my heart is still breaking. It’s not just my heart though, we are all going through a mourning process, well everyone except my two year old, who continuously announces to that world with joy that “Indi died!”

Of course along with the stress of a huge change in our household everything seems to go to hell. Dave leaves to go on a trip he had planned for months, the girls and I get sick, there are projects to be done, homework to be completed…a book to be written…minor details! And through all of this my other dog, Tess, has been an absolute nightmare! All of the sudden this dog is getting into everything! The garbage in the bathroom- which was never of interest to her in the past- is now her new favorite plaything. The cabinet that the garbage is in, in the kitchen has interesting new scratches on it. I came home to find the remnants of five LARGE heart shaped boxes of chocolates that we had gotten for the girls’ teachers totally devoured! Not just the chocolate, but the plastic, the cardboard, the foam…everything, just eaten. I cleaned the mess, furiously, and prayed that it somehow magically get digested and come out in my yard rather than on my carpet. On my next outing I came home to find a box of blow pops that we had gotten to tape to the girls’ valentines eaten, the plastic, the sticks, the gum, all gone. The only evidence of the atrocity is a claw scratch on the middle of my dining room table, and a glittery sheen of sticky sucker shards smashed into my carpet- yeah that’ll be a blast to clean!

Seriously though, a claw scratch on my table! Our once docile pooch has become a freaking ninja when not in our presence! I can only imagine the scene when we leave, her nose going bonkers as she decides which loot she will make disappear next, then the climb or jump or whatever Circ de-Solie gymnastics this dog is doing to acquire such goods. I’m so frustrated and irritated, of all the times to be doing this to ME, she has to do this now?!

Last night I was awoken by a horrible sound, any pet owner knows what I’m talking about. It’s the heaving their beloved fur ball does before the nightmare of a mess appears on the carpet. I somehow jump out of bed to make it to her in time, drag her butt out to the deck and then retreat inside, because well, it’s cold here. I praise God that I was so quick, take a step and realize, I have a wet sucker stick stuck between my toes and other things that can only be described as pure evil on my foot…oh no…no I wasn’t fast enough. There is only one thing worse than cleaning up dog vomit, and that my friends is cleaning up the vomit of a dog who has consumed five boxes of chocolates, a box of blow pops- sticks and all, a cardboard toilet paper roll (I know right?), oh ALSO insulation…where she got that from I have no idea, but needless to say I’m looking for holes in my walls now.

I was furious with this dog this morning, I found more piles of vomit around the house, I found more damaged goods, like my new mango scented body butter, the genius actually twisted the lid off and licked it clean! I’m thinking perhaps before her stint at the humane society she was potentially in the circus or… OR… considering the level of her skill, more likely running government special ops.

She has never been this way before, and I have never used her “scientific name” for a female dog so many times in a 24 hour period. (I know, I know and I feel horrible about it now, but seriously you clean up that much vomit and try not muttering something under your breath.)

As I’m dealing with all of this drama, I realize that Tess is sniffing Indiana’s bed, which I still haven’t had the nerve to put away yet. I watch as she lays down next to it, licks it a few times and then rests her head on her paws, waiting for her friend to come home. I see the hurt on her face, the confusion, the stress…a small piece of bright red blow pop stuck to her ear…but that’s not the point… she is mourning.

For the first time since we have had Tess I let her climb on my bed with me, she doesn’t know what to do, will she get in trouble? Her eyes question. This is new territory for her. I pat my tummy and she lays her head on my chest. This animal who has given me so much unconditional love was just trying to tell me she needed some back. As humans I don’t think we’re programmed that way, we take- take- take…at least I do. As a parent I think I’m so overwhelmed with diapers and dishes and SO MUCH reading HOMEWORK for a kindergartener (seriously!) that I forgot that Tess would notice that her other half was missing. And sadly I’m so caught up in my own story, my own hurt, that I foolishly decided that she is trying to make my life worse rather than seeing that she was just asking for love and help.

Now I know this is a parenting blog, but I can’t help but think this transcends to our children. Not only in their behavior and how they communicate with us, but also in our need to pull our heads out of our own drama (you thought I was gonna say a bad word… ;-) ) long enough to see that even when they aren’t saying anything we need to pay attention. Even when they aren’t climbing on our laps we need to try to hug them. Even when they aren’t saying ‘I love you’ first, we need to say it. Even when they aren’t wiping their dirty faces and hands on our jeans, we need to give them something they can make a mess with, ‘cause really messes are fun! No really they are, when you’re a kid that is, and seriously what is life without the mess? What is the point? Aren’t the messes the best stories? Aren’t the messes what keep us grounded, humbled…aren’t the messes kinda what we’re here for?

I’ll continue to “listen” to Tess, I’ll continue to allow her to grieve, I’ll most likely continue to clean up vomit for another week… and I’ll continue to pray for her forgiveness of my “human self-centeredness.” One day I hope I’m half the person she thinks I am. If I can be that person, then my human kids will have it made.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waypoint Book Trailer

Check out the "Waypoint: Oregon" Book Trailer!

You can now find "Waypoint" at amazon.com for $9.99 and at Barnes and Noble for $8.99!
"Waypoint: Oregon" is also available on Kindle and Nook Book for $5.99!

The second book in the series is coming soon...
Follow Ben, Megan and Aunt Lacey as they explore Alaska! Find out what happens when a group of dangerous treasure hunters believe Ben holds the key to a shipwreck's two million dollar lost treasure.
The chase is on, and this time, someone isn't coming home.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I am the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

I am the most beautiful woman in the world.
Don’t believe me? Ask my kids, they’ll tell you.
To them, their mommy is gorgeous. They don’t see my flaws, they don’t see my wrinkles or pimples (so not fair by the way) they just see the woman whom they adore.
I like to think that our children see us the way God does, I mean really He wouldn’t waste his time creating someone or something He didn’t see as beautiful, right? So why do I constantly question and criticize God’s work? Who am I to tell the man upstairs that his artwork needs a little help?
There is a story that I think about often, not sure what brilliant mind came up with it, but it goes something like this;
A little boy loses his mom at a shopping mall, he knows if he is ever lost to find a police officer to help him. He sees an officer and runs over to him,
“Help, I’ve lost my mom!” he wails.
“It’s okay, little buddy, we’ll find her” the officer scoops up the young boy and takes him to the security office. “Okay son, I’m gonna need you to tell me what your mom looks like” he requests.
“Oh that’s easy” says the boy. “She is the most beautifullest lady in the world.”
The boy then continues to tell the officer about how amazingly beautiful his mother is.
After hearing this description the officer imagines this gorgeous woman and radios all the other officers at the mall her description, of course they all believe she is some sort of cross between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, and so this is the type of woman they look for, pretty much ignoring every other woman who cross their paths.
After a few minutes a woman approaches the security office. She is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, tennis shoes and has a baseball cap covering her frizzy hair, which is pulled back into a “mommy tail.”
“I can’t find my son!” she wails to the security officer at the front desk.
The officer who is still thinking about Angelina Jolie doesn’t even connect the dots that this woman, exhausted and sweaty, could possibly be the mother of the boy in the next room. And so he takes her information and has her wait. It isn’t until the door to the side room is opened that the boy screams with delight and runs over to the frazzled woman.
All of the officers are dumbfounded- this woman is not beautiful, sure with some makeup and the proper attire she’s okay, but in no way close to the most beautiful woman in the world.
But to her son, she is…
So when do are kids stop thinking we are beautiful? When we tell them to, that’s when.
Every time we look in the mirror and sigh with disappointment, we tell them just how ugly we are. Every time we complain about our wrinkles, or our weight we tell them. It happens over and over again until one day we just aren’t that pretty to them. For some kids this is highly confusing, here is a woman they find to be the most beautifullest in the whole wide world and then we tell them they are wrong over and over again. Pretty soon they start to believe us.
I remember this with my mom, she would look in the mirror and complain about how fat she was, and she weighed 120 pounds. I instantly decided I was fat, and have battled that instinct for decades now. I heard her tell me over and over how ugly she is, only to cringe now when people tell me how much I look like her. She never said I was ugly, she never said I was fat, but she said it about herself, and because she is my mom, I believed her.
As a grown up though, I now know how beautiful my mother is, and I tell her often. I still have to call her on it though, when she says mean things about my daughter’s grandmother. Which is why now I don’t allow two words in my house, the “U” word (ugly) and the “F” word, and by that I mean FAT, (the other F word isn’t allowed either, although I would be far more forgiving if one of my kids said that word than calling themselves fat).
So today and every day I vow to myself to not confuse my kids. I refuse to continue this trend of self hating woman in my family. It’s almost an addiction and I’m done with it. Think that it’s just moms with girls that need to worry? Think again! If you have boys you are raising the next generation of husbands who will judge their wives based on what YOU tell them. So proceed with caution.
I don’t look like I did when I was 18, I shouldn’t! I’ve had two kids and gone through some stress. I’m proud of my laugh lines, and I know I have seriously earned every single one of these gray hairs. I don’t have to like them, but I guess I’m to a point of appreciation, yes I appreciate the fact that gray hairs are some of my biggest concerns right now, and I appreciate that I live in a time when covering those gray hairs takes only 25 minutes!
So next time you look in the mirror and see something you don’t like, remember there are little people watching. They are taking notes on how to do life, so keep your judgments about how horrible you look to yourself; nobody wants to hear them anyways. If you feel better beating yourself up, write those hateful thoughts in a journal, one day when you’re 80 you’ll look at that journal and sigh about all the time you wasted hating yourself.
I’m not gonna be that 80 year old. I’m gonna be the great grandma, with my cellulite and chin hairs lounging on a beach with my great grand kids building sand castles. That’s how I am choosing to do life.
One other thing, my girls are constantly being told how much they look like their momma, and guess what…my girls are GORGEOUS!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Forever in Sharpie

I was the guest contributor on Earth Monkey Moms last week. This is a blog set up to inspire, encourage and amuse other moms. The following is my post on their site, how exciting to be a part of this!


I love scrap booking. I have boxes and boxes (ok baby wipe containers) filled with pictures to be one day glamorized on some beautiful paper for the entire world (and by that I mean myself and my reluctant husband) to ogle over.

I realized recently that no one really wants to look at other people’s scrap books, except of course to steal ideas for their own scrap booking enterprises. But for us moms, it feels good doesn’t it? As we look over all those pictures and our perfect little quotes and captions we feel an order to our chaos. Like somehow all the blood, sweat and tears (okay poop could really be added to this list) were worth it. When it’s all summed up on pretty paper it feels a little more manageable.

My scrap books don’t look like everyone else’s though. First of all I really use the word “scrap” literally, I don’t mean to be messy, or uneven, but really I don’t get breaks to go and put together my memories. So I break out the pictures, the glue (which isn’t even acid free…OH THE HORROR) and a Sharpie. Yep I said it, I write my captions with a Sharpie, and I don’t even use a pretty font.

I’m almost embarrassed to show other people my pages, but I suppose these pages are a representation of me, my life, and how I do life. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that my life is simple, it’s Sharpie simple.

I not only don’t like to share my pages because of my lack of elegantness or cuteness, but also because I record silly things. Sure my scrapbooks have the normal documentation: “Madi took 3 steps” and “Lilly said Mama” but I love to add the real stuff.

For example, when Madi first learned about binoculars, she called them “knockers” that’s in the book, as are; “Madison actually kicked me while I was holding her on the potty seat, as soon as I let her get up she peed all over me.” “Lilly put dog poop in her mouth today, I got it out before she swallowed any, but the look on her face was priceless.” Well you get the point, I’m not a bad mom, I’m just embracing the craziness.

I don’t have time to do pages all the time and I certainly don’t have the brain power to remember all the funny/annoying/cute things my kids and dogs have done, so I keep post it notes everywhere. When one of the kids does something “scrapbook worthy” (and you can tell my standards aren’t ridiculously high) I write it on a note, put the date and stick it to my journal. By the time I actually get to the scrap booking part I have close to 50 notes waiting to be memorialized forever in Sharpie.

I guess the point is this: life isn’t pretty…don’t NOT scrapbook your life because you don’t have the time to make it perfect on paper.

And imagine this… you’re dead and gone (sorry, reality) and your great, great grand kids are in the attic of the beach house you purchased and could never sell. Anyhow, they are playing dress up and find an old box full of scrapbooks. Imagine the look on their faces as they open it and see how life really was for you and your kids. Seeing your handwriting, forever in Sharpie marker. (I’m really trying to make myself feel better about this).

Everyone has those beautiful family pictures; I want the future to see their true roots, the mud on the face, uncombed hair, and saggy diaper reality. This is my everyday and that’s what I scrap. Sure the pretty pictures are nice, we aren’t cavemen after all, but the true representation of our lives is what I’m after.

So get some sticky notes and start documenting all the things that make you laugh and cry (most likely in 20 years they will ALL make you laugh). Get some Sharpie’s, some glue, and when you have time (ahahahaaaa) throw some pages together. Who cares what they look like, if you’re that worried about how they look tell yourself you’ll redo them when you’re retired (liar, just sayin').

Just get it done, your kids, grand kids and great grand kids will thank you, let me be clear, you’ll NEVER hear a “thank you” you’ll just know it’s there when your grand kids can tease their mom about putting dog poop in her mouth.

PS...anyone want to buy a house in the lovely beach town of Lincoln City? No? Darn.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waypoint has been released!!

I'm proud to announce that Waypoint: Cache Quest Oregon has been released on Amazon.com! Whoo hoooo, I'm so excited. This could be little or it could be huge, either way I'm gonna keep on writing, that's what I do, so onward to Alaska...and beyond!!

Watch the trailer and share it with your friends, family, co-workers and ememies, maybe it'll change 'em, you never now! :)

Buy it on Amazon.com, get one for yourself, your kids, or a local school or library. Let's get our kids active and excited about reading and being outside! Just make sure they aren't reading while walking, cuz ya know that could be dangerous and frankly at $9.99 per book I can't afford a lawsuit!

click below for...

Waypoint: Cache Quest Oregon book trailer!

Buy a copy..or 2 or 3, or 20 (hey I can dream) click below to be directed to Amazon.

Waypoint: Cache Quest Oregon

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mani/Pedi My Way to Heaven

I've just decided that the perfect window into my soul, or my insanity, is my nail polish, or lack there of. Actually lack there of would be good, right now, my nails are a tattered mess of peeling lacquer. I seriously look as if my nails have been bleeding, the red nail polish is peeling and shredded, and remnants of my decals look like squished bugs permanently fossilized in a blood red mess.

They were pretty a week ago.

I'm doing this new thing with Madi, every week we're doing our nails together. Yup, I wanna be "that mom". I want her to feel pretty, I want her to know how to sit still while they dry and I want people to comment on how cute her little nails are, which they do regularly. *pat self on back*.

On the first day we do our nails, we feel beautiful, David looks at our nails and comments on how great they look, we dress better, we do our hair, we feel and look pretty. But as the days go on, and the dishes need to be washed, diapers need to be changed, and well for Madi, lizards need to be caught and mud pies need to be made, our polish starts wearing off, our beautifully filed nails start to snag, and pretty soon they just look, well horrible. I really should just take the polish off, but I suppose in a way I leave it there for a day or two to learn something about myself?

Okay maybe I'm just lazy.

I guess this is the point; it's nice to have our nails all pretty and done up, it feels great and elegant, but well, that's just not us. We do our nails knowing perfectly well that in a day they will be scraped, or bitten off, they will be scrubbed after a diaper explosion. We could never make it without doing these things, we would go insane. We need the activities that ruin our polish, for survival, for fun. And maybe that's why I leave the scraped nasty polish on for a few days too long. It's a record, a history. When I feel lazy, or I feel as though I haven't gotten anything accomplished being a stay at home mom- I can look at my nails and think "wow I've done a lot of stuff to mess up my nails!" and that feels good. You have to be working (or playing) pretty hard to accomplish our level of nail ugliness, and that is something for me to be proud of. I never want Madi to be one of "those girls"... "I can't do that! I'll mess up my manicure!" I want her to look at her torn up hands and think, "I've been busy!"

At the beginning of the post I wrote that my nails could be a representation of my soul, and well that's just it: when my soul feels like crap, worn out, scraped up, nasty, with fossilized bugs on it, I can count on God to let me feel it for as long as I need to, in order to grow, then He'll wipe it clean and put on a fresh coat...which I'll eventually screw up again, and He'll eventually fix up again. I know it sounds silly, elementary, and probably a little apathetic, but seriously God is that parent. The one who wants us to learn, to mess up, to have reality discipline. He's there watching, allowing us free will even though He knows we'll get hurt, and learn (hopefully), and every time we do it brings us closer to His understanding.

I know, "nail polish and God" how did she get there??? Sometimes the voices in my head get confused, what can I say?!

But seriously, I pray that I'll be more inclined to show people my tattered nails, be it, my actual manicure, my tired soul or my failures, please Lord help me to never allow my appearance to get in the way of your work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's all happening!

Wow, this has been a crazy, busy hectic month!

Many exciting and scary things are happening, first we're moving to Klamath Falls. It's a bitter sweet move for sure, I'm sad to be leaving my friends here on the coast, but so excited to be closer to family and friends down in Southern Oregon. And also I'm just solar powered I need the sunshine to keep my spirits up, and on the coast we just don't get enough of the good stuff!

The second very exciting thing is that I'm publishing my novel, Waypoint - Cache Quest: Oregon through Amazon. It will be available on Amazon in September, and shortly after in book stores and libraries.

I finished the website, sans the official book cover and more character info, and am working on the book trailer for advertising online. It's very exciting and very scary, it could end up being huge, it could end up being nothing, but I'm focusing on the positive and the "what if..."

So when you get a chance check out the web site, let me know what you think! If all goes well with the first book's sales then I will be writing one for every state in the U.S.

I always love to have feedback, good and bad... how else will I know to change things, right?